Before it passes entirely from memory, we should spend a minute on Evan Bayh’s speech last night. Bayh, as you know, is a senator from Indiana, and known as a moderate, reasonable man. But the speech was stupid and nasty — and it should be remembered that way.
Under George Bush, America has become bogged down in an endless war in Iraq, spending more than $648 billion dollars there, $10 billion a month that could be spent to strengthen America’s schools, provide health care for America’s seniors, or create new jobs repairing America’s roads, ports, and bridges.
First, the war in Iraq does not seem endless — in fact, we have made great progress, progress that the Democratic party is loath to acknowledge. Besides which, if it is worth fighting and winning, it is worth fighting and winning.
As to the rest of Bayh’s statement: I despise that formula, the one that goes, “We could take the money we’re spending on this thing I don’t like and spend it on these things I do like.” One of my favorite political cartoons of all time (I wish I could remember the cartoonist, to credit him) showed Tip O’Neill with his arm around Reagan. Tip was saying, “Mr. President, do you know how many hot school lunches your $100 million to the contras would buy?” (That was the big Left trope in those days: hot school lunches.) In the next panel, Reagan said, “I do, Tip: half as many as your $200 million for Northern Ireland.”
Bayh said, “Under George Bush, the Middle East has become more troubled.” Why, thank you, senator! Actually, the Middle East has long been troubled — very. And George W. Bush, unlike some others, is trying to do something about it. And history, I believe, will thank him.
Bayh said, “Remember our soldiers having to search through garbage dumps to find armor for their humvees?” Yes, we’ve made mistakes in the war, as people do. But Bayh and other convention speakers have suggested, or said, that Bush and Cheney don’t care about our servicemen. And that is not just political hyperbole — it is obscene.
Bayh said, “George Bush and John McCain were wrong about going to war in Iraq, are wrong about how to get us out of Iraq, wrong to ignore the danger in Afghanistan.”
Ignore the danger in Afghanistan? What a pathetic claim.
Bayh said, “John McCain is not a bad man . . .” — well, that’s mighty big of you, Evan!
Finally, Bayh said that, with his candidates, Obama and Biden, “we will, once again, live up to the full meaning of our creed: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice — not just for the fortunate, not just for the few — for all.”
Yes, Bill Buckley would say, because so many of us want liberty and justice only for the few and the fortunate.
What an SOB, the nice, well-groomed Evan Bayh.